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Daily Mail: Shell’s ‘obscene’ £13.9billion profit is biggest ever by British company

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Last updated at 07:14am on 31st January 2008

Record profit: Shell earnings soar as motorists struggle with high petrol prices

Shell has announced earnings of £13.9billion today – the biggest-ever profit by a British company.

The oil giant has reported that profits have risen 9 per cent since last year, pushed up amid fears of instability in the Middle East.

But critics have branded the earnings “obscene”, pointing out that pensioners, motorists and industry are all struggling to afford soaring energy prices.

With oil topping $100 a barrel, many motorists have seen petrol prices rise to more than £1 a litre and towards the once unthinkable £5 a gallon.

American rival Exxon Mobil, the world’s biggest non-government controlled oil company, is also tipped to break the previous U.S. earnings record when it reveals its results this week.

It is expected to announce profits of £20billion in the past year.

Unions and motoring groups are calling on the Government to impose a “windfall tax” and to scrap the planned 2p a litre tax hike on fuel.

Tony Woodley, joint general secretary of union Unite, said: “Shell shareholders are doing very nicely whilst the rest of us are paying the price.

“Record profits at Shell and the oil industry are, quite frankly, obscene. It is time the Government acted.”

He added: “This government took the brave step of putting a windfall tax on the greedy privatised utilities to fund the New Deal. With pensions injustices still to be addressed, fortune should favour the brave again and the greedy oil companies should be asked to contribute for the common good.

“The oil companies can maintain their investment programmes, maintain their explorations, pay their normal taxes, maintain good returns to shareholders but still put their hands in their treasure chests and pay a windfall tax. These companies can afford it. Many pensioners cannot afford to live. It’s as simple as that.”

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=511387&in_page_id=1770

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